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J. D. Salinger

Robert Vickrey, 26 Aug 1926 - 17 Apr 2011
Jerome David Salinger, 1 Jan 1919 - 27 Jan 2010
Gouache, ink and graphite pencil on paperboard
Sight: 43.8 x 29.8cm (17 1/4 x 11 3/4")
Frame: 66.4 x 49.2 x 4.8cm (26 1/8 x 19 3/8 x 1 7/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Robert Vickrey/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born New York City
Jerome David Salinger had one of the great successes of all time with The Catcher in the Rye (1951). He then vanished, publishing only a few collections of short stories and emerging only to sue people who attempted to write about him; his last publication was in 1965. Yet Catcher in the Rye remains a classic. Its teenaged narrator Holden Caulfield's account of a weekend in Manhattan continues to speak to disaffected adolescents kicking against the "phonies." It has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide and is still occasionally banned by education administrators who fear its corrupting impact on alienated youth. Here, in a way that Salinger (and Caulfield) would have appreciated, the artist interprets the book's title literally and paints the author against an amber wave of grain.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection